Fama Fraternitatis - 1614

Wiewohl wir nun wohl wissen, daß es umb ein ziemliches noch nicht an dem, da wieder unserm Verlangen oder auch anderer Hoffnung mit allgemeiner Reformation divini et humani, solle genug geschehen, ist es doch nicht unbillich, daß, ehe die Sonne auffgehet, sie zuvor ein HELL oder dunkel liecht in den Himmel bringt und unter dessen etliche wenige, die sich werden angeben, zusammen tretten, unsere Fraternitet mit der Zahl und Ansehen des gewünschten und von Fr.R.C. fürgeschriebenen Philosophischen Canons, einen glücklichen Anfang machen oder ja in unserer Schätz (die uns nimmermehr aufgehen können) mit uns in Demut und Liebe genießen die Mühsamkeit dieser Welt überzuckern und in den Wunderwerken Gottes nicht also blind umbgehen.

Vi vet dock att det enligt vår åstundan och andras förväntningar efter någon tid kommer en allmän reformation av både gudomliga och mänskliga ting. Ty innan solen går upp, upplyses himlen av
MORGONRODNADENS ljus. I väntan på denna reformation församlas några få som med sitt antal skall utöka vårt brödraskap, höja dess anseende och stärka dess förhoppningar och ge de av Fr.R.C. föreskrivna Filosofiska Canons en lycklig begynnelse. I all ödmjukhet och kärlek skall dessa nytillkomna tillsammans med oss dela våra skatter, som aldrig skall förgås, och så lindra denna världens möda och inte längre vandra ovetande om kunskapen om Guds underbara verk.

Howbeit we know after a time there will now be a general reformation, both of divine and humane things, according to our desire, and the expectation of others: for it is fitting, that before the rising of the Sun, there should appear and break forth AURORA, or some clearness, or divine light in the sky; and so in the mean time some few, which shall give their names, may joyn together, thereby to increase the number and respect of our Fraternity, and make a happy and wished for beginning of our Philosophical Canons, prescribed to us by our brother R.C. and be partakers with us of our treasures (which never can fail or be wasted) in all humility, and love to be eased of this worlds labor, and not walk so blindly in the knowledge of the wonderful works of God.


Det brittiska ordenssällskapet Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn och den tyska Frimurarlogen L'Aurore Naissante, vilket grundades i London 1888 respektive Frankfurt-am-Main 1807, delade på samma hebreiska namn Chevrah Zerach Bequr Aur, förevisat i gyllene gult vid bloggens huvud, vilket ordagrannt kan översättas till “Stigande Gryningsljusets Sällskap”. Denna tyska Rosenkorsiska Frimurarloge i Frankfurt, vilket måste anses vara det ursprungliga modertemplet till GOLDEN DAWN, kallade sig på tyska även Loge sur Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, vilket kan översättas till “Gryende Morgonrodnadens Loge”. Detta skiljer sig åt från den engelska seden att översätta orden Bequr Aur till “Golden Dawn” eller “Gyllene Gryningen”. Med anledning av Rosenkorstraditionens tyska ursprung är en mer korrekt översättning av Bequr Aur, genom franskans L'Aurore Naissante och tyskans Aufgehenden Morgenröthe, inget annat än GRYENDE MORGONRODNADEN. Denna hänvisning till ett stigande gryningsljus, morgonrodnad eller aurora är en klar hänvisning till den allmäna reformationen omnämnt i det ovan citerade stycket från Fama Fraternitatis. Denna blogg har dock valt att behålla den försvenskade anglo-saxiska termen GYLLENE GRYNINGEN för att denna, invand som den är, lättare associeras med den Rosenkorsiska tradition som här ämnas att framställas.

Licht, Leben, Liebe

lördag 12 februari 2011

Mentalism in the New Age


The latest hype of commercialism in the New Age market is the so-called “Law of Attraction,” promoted and profited through the movie from 2006 entitled The Secret, which a year later developed into the book bearing the same title. This book and movie presents the Law of Attraction in a manner giving the impression that this has been an occulted and guarded secret passed on between initiates; we have to thank The Secret for its disclosure. In this little essay I will try to put this term into its proper context. This is especially important as the Law of Attraction lately (and after the release of The Secret) has become associated with the Golden Dawn Tradition because of Robert Zink, one of the original founders and recently expelled Chief of the Esoteric Order of the Golden Dawn (formerly known as the Hermetic Order of the Morning Star International and Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn International).

The Secret presents the Law of Attraction in a way that easily may be summed up as: “You get the life that you deserve, your thoughts and ideas attracts the attention of the universe and you must reap what you have sown.” Or to simplify matters even more the entire philosophy may be summed up as: “Like attracts like.” The truth is, however, that this book or movie doesn’t present anything new at all – nor does it present a secret. Actually the Law of Attraction is nothing more than the reused and repackaged philosophy centred on the principle of Mentalism, being part of the movement known as the “New Though”.

New Though was an early precursor of the New Age movement that formed already in the late 19th Century but grew into a major force in the early 20th Century, with authors as Napolian Hill and William Walker Atkinson (1862 – 1932). The latter often wrote using different pennames, such as “Yoga Ramacharaka” and “Magus Incognito”. It was actually the latter author who coined the term “Law of Attraction” in his 1906 seminal work Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World. He soon used the two terms “Law of Attraction” and “Mentalism” interchangeable. Or rather, it seems that the term “Law of Attraction” was the more popularised term used in the various self-help books spread in the early 20th Century, while the “Principle of Mentalism” was used in a more occult context, attached to both Western Hermeticism and Eastern Yoga.

William Walker Atkinson

One such example of the latter case is the book The Kybalion, written in 1912 by “Three Initiates”. This book presents seven Hermetic laws or principles, the first and foremost being that of Mentalism, the other principles being that of Correspondence, Vibration, Polarity, Rhythm, Cause and Effect, and Gender. Basically the principle of Mentalism teaches that the world is actually a thought form of God. And since man (the Microcosm) is made in the image of God (Macrocosm), it must be logical to assume that the human mind also has a similar creative ability as does God.

Incidentally, a quite similar book as that of The Kybalion was released in 1949 by Magus Incognito (who, remember, was one of the pennames used by William W. Atkinson), entitled The Secret Doctrine of the Rosicrucians, which presents seven principles very similar to those in The Kybalion. Hence one must conclude that the identity of one of these “Three Initiates” to be non other than Atkinson. It has also been proposed, at least amongst the members of the B.O.T.A., that Paul Foster Case and Michael Whitty where the other two “Initiates”.

Paul Foster Case

It is historical fact that Paul F. Case knew Atkinson personally, interacting with him in his early formative years to the point of becoming heavily influenced by his thoughts. Michael Whitty was the leader of the Rosicrucian Order of the Alpha et Omega (Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn) in the U.S. and initiated Case into the New York based Thoth-Hermes Temple No. 9. Supposedly the three “Initiates” met together and wrote The Kybalion prior to Case’s admisson into the AO in 1918. There are also unconfirmed (and perhaps unsubstantiated) rumours that William W. Atkinson himself was initiated in the Alpha et Omega, a fact that has been used by Robert Zink to promote the Law of Attraction in the context of his Golden Dawn franchise. And I bet we will continue to see him promoting his New Age teachings in a Golden Dawn wrapping even after him being ousted from his own Order.

The principle of Mentalism, in its original non-diluted non-New Age form, can also be found in the occult organization known as the Builders of the Adytum (B.O.T.A.), which was founded by Paul Foster Case in 1923 after he had left (or been forced to leave) the AO two years previously. B.O.T.A. teaches an occult system through Paul Foster Case’s (and his successor Ann Davies’) correspondence courses, which basically is a synthesis and development of the Golden Dawn Tradition, New Thought, and (to a limited extent) Eastern Yoga. Both The Kybalion and Paul F. Case however, argue that the idea of a mental universe is much older than the modern occult revival and the New Thought movement, which even The Secret tries to confirm in some romanticized scenes. I concur with this belief that the principle of Mentalism is and always has been part and parcel of the Ageless Wisdom.

Paul Brunton

Similar teachings may also be found in both Zen Buddhism and in Yoga. The English yogic guru Paul Brunton is credited with making the occident aware in the early 1940’s concerning the origins of the principle of Mentalism, the unity of Spirit and Matter, as being that of the esoteric doctrine of the Orient. However, similar thoughts may also be extracted from the works of Eliphas Levi or Alphonse Louis Constant (1810 – 1875), as early as in Dogma de la Magie from 1853 and Dogme et ritual de la haute magie from 1856 (translated into English by Arthur Edward Waite as Transcendental Magic), predating the New Thought movement by several decades and proving that there exists earlier occidental teachings with many similarities to that of the oriental esoteric doctrines.

In his books Levi expounds upon his theory regarding the “Astral Light” used in Magical workings, which takes it forms according to the intents of the Magician through his will and imagination. This idea is in fact the very raison d’être of the magical doctrine as propounded by modern Rosicrucian Orders such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. However, I personally don’t believe that Levi concocted up this theory himself but that he simply drew and expounded upon a much older tradition with its roots in Hermeticism.

Eliphas Levi

Later Sigmund Freud argued in his Totem and Taboo that these beliefs are rooted in the earliest forms of animism, in the belief systems of primitive tribes, which precedes that of religion. He calls this the “all power of thoughts” and compares this phenomenon with the primitive and narcissistic mind of the child. This “magical” thinking also forms the basis for regressive tendencies in pathological compulsive neurosis, but in a much more severe and darker form; the fear of what the mind may cause to one’s surroundings and the accompanying feelings of self-reproach and guilt. Thus one may conclude that the principles of Mentalism forms the very foundation of the Hermetic magical philosophy, while we in animism may find a ancient and primitive form of a human belief system regarding the relation between man and his environment.

To problematize Freud’s assumptions, which are not factually inaccurate per se, his colleague Carl Gustav Jung furthermore holds that the ego of the child’s is in a union with the Self (The Higher and Transcendental Self), at least initially, but that the process of Individuation (maturing) creates separation between them. However, Jung also proposes the possibility of reunion between the ego and Self on a mature level, later in adult life. Making a comparison between animism and Hermeticism, the former may bee seen as a naive but intuitive understanding of real existential facts while the principle of Mentalism could bee looked upon as a more mature notion that aims at seeing beyond primitive personal omnipotence into a divine and sacred one instead.

Sigmund Freud

This being said, I still believe it is wise to make a distinction between the principle of Mentalism of Ageless Wisdom (in both the occident and orient) and that of the New Age concept regarding the Law of Attraction. The main difference is that in the Law of Attraction, at least as it is presented in The Secret, we basically are presented with a extremely infantile form of narcissism, while with the principle of Mentalism we have a mature form of a concept which tries to see the innate correspondence between Spirit and Matter, but at the same time not denouncing any divine intervention or cosmic fate.

What in particular disturbs me about the New Age form of Law of Attraction, as may be seen in The Secret and the flock of New Age gurus flooding the market, is the constant focus on creating money using this technique. I feel as if the filmmakers / authors are trying to make some sort of bastard union between the American dream and the Ageless Wisdom of the Orient and Occident, which feels quite baroque for a Swedish traditionalist as me.

Carl Gustav Jung

Something that also bothers me with The Secret is the open denunciation of the existence of God (as in transcendent or higher power than man) and of destiny (as in a Macrocosm greater than the Microcosm), or something along those lines; that man is the sole creator of his own existence, etc. This is pulling the principle of Mentalism to the extreme, which makes the whole thing quite absurd and detestable. It is also what some theologians justly have criticized The Secret for – that it makes man into the sole God. Thus, The Secret is quite stereotyped in how it confirms the prevalent phenomena of New Age perversion of old mystery traditions. It is sad to see that these perverted ideas has found its way back to teachers who purports themselves to be teachers of Hermeticism and the Holy Qabalah.

Creativity is a divine attribute which makes us all part of God’s creative impulse. To believe that the ego in itself, or man himself, could create something from his own ability and will power, separate from the Will of God or from the larger Whole, is a pure delusion when seen in the light of traditional Hermeticism and its principle of Mentalism. It is certainly the best path to failure in the application of the principles of Mentalism; it may only lead to spiritual ruin if prolonged. Only by ensuring that Man and God (or the Great Creative Power, or whatever you want to call it) are as One in this act of Will and Imagination, i.e. that the human will and creative ability are but manifestations of the divine, may these principles (such as described in The Secret) lead to any real success. It thus requires a good dose of self-distance and humility.

Thus it is a serious fallacy to believe that the ego of man alone has the ability to create something, or anything, because of their “own” or “personal” ability and willingness. No matter what any deluded individual may believe it is still God (or the One) who is the sole Creative Power and Will of the Universe or Macrocosm, where the human will and creative ability is but a Microcosmic manifestation of this divine creative impulse. Man is the instrument of Divine Will with a special purpose and divine mission in this present incarnation.

This notwithstanding, it still is possible for a human mind to create something by the sole means of the imaginative faculties and willpower resident at the level of human consciousness, as is described in The Secret, even if the individual lacks any religious sentiments or even doesn’t believe in God. Individuals may even nurture the belief (which is a delusion) that they are the sole creators of their personal universes in order to achieve some “progress” in their life with the help of the tenets of The Secret.

But this progress is purely materialistic and only concerns worldly affairs (which The Secret seems to use as the major measure stick of success). The question is whether this is characteristical of real “success”. With an atheistic, agnostic or materialistic approach one may only affect the physical existence, which is limiting indeed. There is no greater spiritual development worth mentioning in these instances – at least until the individual along the road to his material success eventually does realize that there is more to life than pure material pleasure; he may find his true mission in life and real Self in the process. There is a chance that he finally realizes, when the money starts to flow, that this doesn’t answer all his questions of the meaning of life, or even cover all his needs; somehow he may realize or sense that there has been a higher power all along that has had a hand in his success. When this happens he begins to turn his attention to the true creative power and thus takes his first steps in his search for life’s true mysteries.

From Darkness to Light

Apart from this, self-help philosophies of this kind often neglect all aspects of life, especially the darker ones. It’s no surprise then that some theologians in their criticism of The Secret have pointed out the truth that life by necessity also must go through pain and suffering, as well as success and happiness. This is as simple a fact as there is a day and a night, and expresses the 4th and 5th principles of The Kybalion, that of Polarity and Rhythm; opposites are two sides of the same coin and changes into each other through regular intervals. The Secret on the other hand totally neglects the need of darkness in one’s life, and even blames the individual himself for encountering it. But it fully misses the truth of this matter that any difficult moments in our lives also provide us with valuable time for self-reflection and knowledge of our self (or Self with the capital “S”), to find our true place in life and purpose of our lives. Life is never and shouldn’t ever be a bed of roses, as portrayed in the movie The Secret, just because we choose to believe in only ourselves and that we by our own power have the ability to reshape our lives.

So in the final analysis, The Secret, which has become the new gospel of the New Age movement in its belief of the Law of Attraction, is a fairly gross over-simplification of life and the true meaning of living and leading a life as a compassionate human being. In my opinion it gives the reader or student serious blinkers which may make him miss the actual mark and create a serious stumbling block in finding his own path of return. The classical motto or axiom of Per ardua ad alta, which translates as “Through difficulties to the heights,” expresses much more truth in its four words than does The Secret through its more than 200 pages or 1½ hours of film. The true path of the initiate is best expressed through the motto Post tenebras lux or “from darkness to light.” Enough said.


6 kommentarer:

Peregrin sa...

Care GH Fr SR,

thank you for another excellent post.

I cannot really say anymore, since you have treated the subject so well from the traditional point of view.

I would like to ask permission to borrow or use the 'Secret Skeptic' image though :)

Thank you again.

studio464 sa...

Honoured Master,

I would like to ask you an opinion about such phenomenon like Bob Proctor and "Science to getting rich".
Personally, I do no trust in it, I just consider them stole-mind, in the worst tradition of dianetics, scientology and other rubbish like that.
Unfortunately, I got some friends that are involved with this, and I can't find arguments to awake them.
Have you any suggestion?
Thank you for your kind attention.

JAE sa...

Det här var mycket lärorikt Thomas! Tack för fin läsning.

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Dear studio 464,

I haven't ready anything by Bob Proctor, other than watching him in the movie 'The Secret'. You are right in not trusting it. It is a pure cash cow, driven by material ambition to the extreme.

Regarding your friends. If they are caught up in it already, my experience with these secterian phenomena is that it does little good in trying to convince them through reasoned arguments. This is beyond reason, as with all religious or faith systems.

We all have a infantile need of looking up to a guru who will answer our questions and comfort our existential concerns. There are wolfs there ready to exploit the gullible sheep, so to speak.

Simply bring them over to your place, drink some tea with them, relax, and after a while express your feelings of concern of what you have observed in their recent behaviour. Be very specific and avoid in getting into philosophical polemics (which is very easy to be dragged into).

Just express how you yourself have been affected emotionally by their recent conduct. Make them aware of the difference in their behaviour before then were dragged into it an how it is now. But never judge them or accuse them as persons; focus on their behaviour. Just plainly state how you yourself have been affected by it all.

These phenomena have many similarities with drug addiction. And addiction always affect friends and relatives in a negative way. The best weapon (which is also used in the 12 step program) is to appeal to their conscience, without a direct accusation of their "bad" character. Focus on how you yourself has been hurt by their conduct. This makes it very concrete in their minds and also may be the first step towards a waking call.

At least give it a try and make them aware that you really do care about them, and that you love them; that you wouldn't like to see them get hurt. Show them your loyalty in this way, being honest and open about your concerns.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe,

Sincerus Renatus... sa...

Care Fra. Peregrin,

Thank you for your kind words. Sure be my guest to use the image. It isn't mine. I found it floating on the net and took the liberty of borrowing it. I suggest you do the same.

In Licht, Leben und Liebe,

Anonym sa...

Care VH Frater S.'.R.'.,

Brilliant post! Also I have watched this brainwasher and felt this euphoria which necessarily follows. Maybe it's because its 25ths frames, but maybe man really has this deep, uncounscious urge to take control of his own life...

However, I regret that I wasn't amongst them who wrote this book and made movie- at least to someone this book and movie have really helped... :)

Although more than five years have surpassed, but, at least in my crisis touched country, there is practically no book shop where this book wasn't sitting in throne as genie from fairytales of 1001 nights. It's also popular present for even those who haven't read any book before... Yeah, I really wish I would be the author:)

But I can't become author of this book however much I should want it or wish it. Where is this Law of Atrraction now?

I believe that they should be taken to court to explain from where they actually have stolen this SECRET:) (references to Emerald Tablet, Church, Newton and some secret government at the beginning) However, this is classical example how to make money from ancient principles only because our society is so stupid!

Thank you for your traditional view to this commercial project. I really can't imagine how it would be possible to make our Microcosmic attempt to take over all Universe. Definitely, God without even taking some serious action would seat us back to our potty and ask:"What are you thinking, grow a little bit..."

In brotherly love,
Fra M.S.M.